Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Voronwë the Faithful
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Al, two things.

First, you keep making these claims that people are accusing you of all kinds of things, and I just don't see it. If you could point to specific posts in which anyone has accused you of being a racist misogynist or attacking your religion, I would appreciate it.

Second, while I understand what you are looking to do in this thread, you can't force people to express views that they don't believe in, particularly on subjects of such importance to people.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by yovargas »

Alatar wrote: The point of this particular thread is not to express your own views but rather to play devils advocate and challenge your own perceptions by articulating a view other than your own.
Sorry, Al, I have a hard time buying that when I'm pretty sure you've never done this yourself, including in the starting topic you argued for.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by River »

Dave_LF wrote:Hm; I thought I was quick enough that no one would notice, but I guess we've got fast readers here. I suppose that means I need to put it back. :)

On that note, when a person who hasn't taken Diversity 101, but who is familiar with the English language hears the term "institutional racism," they're going to think of something like the Nazi party or Jim Crow laws where racism was part of the official, written policy. That is what the word "institution" implies, after all. And this person will rightly claim that no such thing exists in the modern US. But that's not what people mean where they talk about institutional racism; instead, they're thinking of something more akin to what we call "company culture"--i.e. the set of habits and expectations and define what a place is like without actually being written down anywhere or officially enforced. And because they define the terms differently, they'll talk past each other and argue endlessly about two totally different things.

Addendum: "Institutional racism" can also mean policies that are not overtly racist on the surface, but do disproportionate harm to members of some race or another, either on purpose (rare) or though ignorance or simply not thinking things through.
See, I thought there was a lot of value in that post because it's the sort of thing a lot of us have ended up scratching our heads over. There's a difference between what's official and what actually happens, but since the official policy is "x" and the experience is "y" those that benefit from not rocking the boat (and that includes the people who aren't actually benefitting from the status quo, BTW) can point to policy "x" and essentially gaslight the people raising their voices over experience "y" into silence. Like why was the attrition rate for female students higher than for male students in my grad program? Was it because the attrition rate in that program was generally lousy and the gender skew was random or was it something else? And why was my postdoc advisor suddenly more interested in pushing papers out the door when his lab became majority male as opposed majority female? Was it because the male students were more willing to scream at him until he submitted (in every sense of the word) or was it something else?

Anyway, when it comes to matters such as institutional racism, I'm inclined to take the word of our resident civil rights attorney regarding the nature of the problem. It's what he does for a living.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

yovargas wrote:
Alatar wrote: The point of this particular thread is not to express your own views but rather to play devils advocate and challenge your own perceptions by articulating a view other than your own.
Sorry, Al, I have a hard time buying that when I'm pretty sure you've never done this yourself, including in the starting topic you argued for.
Sorry, I guess I overstepped that one :) What I mean is a genuine attempt to understand and empathise with a POV you disagree with.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by yovargas »

Genuinely not trying to be a jerk but.... I'm pretty sure you've never done that either in this thread, including in the starting topic you argued for.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:Al, two things.

First, you keep making these claims that people are accusing you of all kinds of things, and I just don't see it. If you could point to specific posts in which anyone has accused you of being a racist misogynist or attacking your religion, I would appreciate it.

Second, while I understand what you are looking to do in this thread, you can't force people to express views that they don't believe in, particularly on subjects of such importance to people.
Honestly, its just Frelga.
You are a member of a majority ethnic and religious group in your country, and a straight male, and you don't seem to be comfortable with the idea that there is a certain amount of privilege that comes with that background. HoF is not a very diverse group, granted, but consider how different my background is from Voronwë's from Inanna's from Elengil's. If we agree on a something, it's probably not because we have never been exposed to opposing ideas.
The clear implication here is that I disagree with you and Frelga because I am a white straight catholic male from a white straight catholic country and am therefore institutionalised (and probably institiutionally racist). In previous threads Frelga has obliquely called me racist and misogynist, but never directly and never in a way that could be called out. It has, however, been noticed by more than me and I have had PM correspondence about it. However, I am not prepared to "out" anyone who would prefer not to get drawn into conflict.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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yovargas wrote:Genuinely not trying to be a jerk but.... I'm pretty sure you've never done that either in this thread, including in the starting topic you argued for.
Thats because you all believe I hold those opinions. I have quite often looked for and expressed opinions other than my own.

ETA: FWIW I believe you have tried to do the same Yov.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Fair enough! :)
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by elengil »

Alatar wrote:
yovargas wrote:Genuinely not trying to be a jerk but.... I'm pretty sure you've never done that either in this thread, including in the starting topic you argued for.
Thats because you all believe I hold those opinions. I have quite often looked for and expressed opinions other than my own.

ETA: FWIW I believe you have tried to do the same Yov.
But nothing in your initial posts creating this thread ever indicated this thread was specifically for the purpose of expressing views you do not hold or arguing from other POVs, and expecting others to simply know that is about as disingenuous as you can get! If you express a viewpoint, it is expected that it is your viewpoint if you do not state otherwise! Then turning around and getting shirty saying people are accusing you of believing things you don't? Really? You can't argue for a particular view then get upset if people think you hold that point of view if you never indicate otherwise except to say "I don't believe that."

We aren't mind-readers. If you say "And I think that was wrong. What do the rest of you think?" then people here think you think he was wrong. If you then try to deny you believe that, then you are just not being honest about what you believe and confusing everyone with what you are saying.

eta: especially if you are going to claim that everyone else has posted exactly and only what they do believe and you know this because...?? but you don't do that, you're one of the 'good ones' who will look at other points of view, and all the rest of us are just wallowing in the echo chamber you so like to define.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Frelga »

Dave, exactly. A recent example was an executive of a tech startup complaining that their lone female, over 30, employee just did not fit the company culture. The culture being going out for drinks after work and spending weekends together in outdoorsy activities. Would it really be discrimination to fire her? Here, there were no explicit policies to discriminate based on age, family status, and physical ability. It was just that the company structure that was set up to be uncomfortable for pretty much anyone who was not a young, single person. (and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that their behavior towards women and minorities would be perfectly collegial)

Now consider that this is the prevailing culture for the most lucrative, growing industry in the current economy. That's what I mean about institutionalized but not legalized discrimination.

Al, if I thought you were whatever it is you think I thought you are, I would have said it in so many words, and then blocked you. I continue to engage with in hopes that you give the ideas and experiences of other people the same consideration that you demand for your own.

That said, you have stated many times that people should be less sensitive about their identity and how others discuss it. Does it only apply to other people?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Alatar wrote:
Voronwë the Faithful wrote:Al, two things.

First, you keep making these claims that people are accusing you of all kinds of things, and I just don't see it. If you could point to specific posts in which anyone has accused you of being a racist misogynist or attacking your religion, I would appreciate it.

Second, while I understand what you are looking to do in this thread, you can't force people to express views that they don't believe in, particularly on subjects of such importance to people.
Honestly, its just Frelga.
You are a member of a majority ethnic and religious group in your country, and a straight male, and you don't seem to be comfortable with the idea that there is a certain amount of privilege that comes with that background. HoF is not a very diverse group, granted, but consider how different my background is from Voronwë's from Inanna's from Elengil's. If we agree on a something, it's probably not because we have never been exposed to opposing ideas.
The clear implication here is that I disagree with you and Frelga because I am a white straight catholic male from a white straight catholic country and am therefore institutionalised (and probably institiutionally racist). In previous threads Frelga has obliquely called me racist and misogynist, but never directly and never in a way that could be called out. It has, however, been noticed by more than me and I have had PM correspondence about it. However, I am not prepared to "out" anyone who would prefer not to get drawn into conflict.
Al, in my opinion, you (and whoever it is that has been PMing you) are reading in things that don't exist. There is nothing in that post that suggests that you are racist (e.g., that you do, say or think things negatively about people of a different race, or act in a way that harms people of a different racist) or are misogonystic (e.g., that you hate women). What I see Frelga saying (obviously she can speak for herself better than I can) is that you (like me) are a beneift of white male privilege, but that you (unlike me) don't seem to agree that such a thing as white male privilege exists, based on what you have said (in this thread, and elsewhere). Whether or not that is an accurate opinion of your views, it not accusing you of being racist or miogynistic.

x-posted with Frelga, who already answered better than I can.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by River »

Alatar wrote: Thats because you all believe I hold those opinions. I have quite often looked for and expressed opinions other than my own.
So you're acting. May I make a suggestion? Since you seem to favor hot-button topics, maybe put up a flag when you're acting so no one either posting or lurking gets a poor impression? When you're up on a stage in costume everyone knows what's going on but this venue is a little different.

Also, since you are favoring hot button topics, there's something else you need to consider. Relations among religions, races, and genders are very much rooted in culture and history and that goes doubly so regarding the situation in Virginia right now. The way things work in the US isn't going to be quite the same as it is in your country. You may think that by interacting with Americans and consuming our media you can bridge that gap. I urge you, as someone who has married a foreigner and been the outsider looking in on some very hot button topics in an infamously volatile region of continental Europe, tread lightly. This is not a game.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

Woah, I thought I was explaining myself, but obviously not. I'm afraid I don't have time for a proper post addressing all the points raised above, but I want to clarify something.

I don't believe being a Devil's advocate is disingenuous, dishonest, or even acting. Its meant to challenge all of us, including myself, to consider another pov. I've never lied about an argument, but when I defend a person accused of racism, it doesn't mean I approve of racism. It just means I am challenging people to accept that sometimes race/sex/whatever isn't the issue. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail and America has a lot of hammers.

FWIW, I have never said that I don't benefit from white male privilege, just that it has a different effect here. Ireland is not America is not England is not Russia. Your hangups are different to ours. Our institutionalized racism is to the traveler community, and more recently European immigrants. Colour of skin has never been an issue for me, but Colonial and Imperialist attitudes from our English neighbours has. I am institutionally racist about the English. Individually, I've liked nearly all of them I met. As a nation, not so much. For women, I'm lucky enough to work for an enlightened company that promotes feminism and gender equality. My wife is a successful businesswoman who earns more than I do. I don't resent her for it? I believe she is not only my equal, but my "better half" as the saying goes.

As for the implications regarding my character, I'm not prone to flights of fancy, and with respect Voronwë, I'll trust my own judgement first when I perceive an insult is aimed at me. The fact that others see what you do not should probably tell you more about your perceptiveness than mine.

Now, with apologies, I must back out. I have a busy few days ahead and its late. FWIW, I think this thread should probably be locked. It has never served the purpose I intended and from the posts above it seems people are either unwilling or incapable of doing so, or simply do not comprehend what I hoped for. Its a failed experiment and a depressing reminder that fifteen years of online interaction is no substitute for real connection. It seems this community barely knows me, from the posts I've read above. I turn 50 next month and have spent almost a third of my life, indeed, half of my adult life in your company. To read the posts and reactions above it feels like an incredible waste of time and effort. Sorry if that sounds maudlin, but this is just depressing. I shouldn't have to defend my character to you guys. I don't lie.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by yovargas »

I think this thread should probably be locked. It has never served the purpose I intended and from the posts above it seems people are either unwilling or incapable of doing so, or simply do not comprehend what I hoped for. Its a failed experiment...
You've said that several times in this thread but regardless of what your intent is, I think it's led to several really good conversations.

Also, :grouphug:
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Cerin »

While this thread may not have served the purpose Al intended, I also think it has provided some interesting discussion, so I hope Al will come around to seeing its value.

I'm also guilty of not fully understanding the purpose of the thread, but if I had more carefully considered the title, maybe I would have. If I understand what Al is saying, he had hoped that in this thread people would make a greater effort to understand things from a different perspective, rather than what we usually do, which is to argue passionately for the rightness of our own way of seeing things.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

I'm sorry it was so confusing, but Cerin is correct.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Frelga »

Seems like as good a place to put this as any.

Can I have a show of hands from the gentlemen of the board, and maybe the ladies can ask their fellas. When describing the ideal of a beautiful woman, how many of you would lead off with "thin"?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Primula Baggins »

Is this some kind of satire aimed at AOC?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Frelga »

I've no idea, honestly. I saw a couple responses to this, but all I thought was, "Thin, really?" But I don't want to bias the poll.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Túrin Turambar »

In the spirit of this thread, is there some sort of alternative view of the post we should consider?
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